From the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, by Valerie Strauss
The executive summary of the report studying Chicago, New York City and Washington D.C. where corporate reformers went ahead full steam says that impacts of reform include:
* Test scores increased less, and achievement gaps grew more, in “reform” cities than in other urban districts.
* Reported successes for targeted students evaporated upon closer examination.
* Test-based accountability prompted churn that thinned the ranks of experienced teachers, but not necessarily bad teachers.
* School closures did not send students to better schools or save school districts money.
* Charter schools further disrupted the districts while providing mixed benefits, particularly for the highest-needs students.
* Emphasis on the widely touted market-oriented reforms drew attention and resources from initiatives with greater promise.
* The reforms missed a critical factor driving achievement gaps: the influence of poverty on academic performance. Real, sustained change requires strategies that are more realistic, patient, and multipronged.